By Jonah Bronstein
NIAGARA FALLS —
While his oldest son was working as a graduate assistant with Villanova University men’s basketball team this past season, Niagara University coach Joe Mihalich heard stories about a hard-working video coordinator who would often wind up spending the night in the Wildcats basketball office.
On Friday, Mihalich announced that he has hired that video coordinator, Kyle Neptune, to join his staff of assistants on Monteagle Ridge.
“When you meet him, you quickly realize he is a rising star in this profession,” Mihalich said. “This guy’s got it together.”
Neptune replaces Akbar Waheed, who accepted an assistant coaching job at Boston College last month after 15 years as a coach and player at Niagara. He joins Luke Dobrich and Phil Martelli, Jr. on Mihalich’s staff.
A native of Brooklyn, Neptune played four seasons at Lehigh (Pa.) University, winning a Patriot League title as a freshman in 2004, and becoming a captain in his senior year. He had a brief career overseas before joining the Villanova staff in 2008.
“Kyle was a valued member of our staff at Villanova,” Wildcats coach Jay Wright said in a news release. “He is bright, hard-working and passionate about coaching. We will miss him, but we are proud of his development.”
“When you’ve spent time with Jay Wright,” Mihalich said, “you know you’re ready.”
Mihalich said Neptune will be responsible for player development, recruiting, scouting and administrative duties. Neptune’s first day on the job is May 24.
“I’m excited to come in and be part of something that is already established,” Neptune said. “It’s a great university, with a great staff and a great bunch of players. I’m a young coach and I’m just trying to come into something great and learn as much as possible.”
Neptune said the first thing he noticed during his on-campus interview was how similar the elder Mihalich was to his son.
“The same bubbly personality,” he said.